Kayaking / Canoeing Lessons

The De Anza College Outdoor Club sometimes offers kayaking and canoeing lessons at the De Anza pool,
but has more recently moved our lesson and practice paddling to Baylands Preserve in Palo Alto,

where there is at least six times the space to practice.


I am keeping this webpage for future reference.The club provides paddles, sometime two or three models of boats and all sizes of lifejackets. (This lesson is not required for any of our kayaking trips.)

The olympic sized pool really is big enough:

Olympic sized pool with kayaks from water edge at shallow end:

Olympic sized pool with kayaks from above: 2005 pool and kayaks from above:

kayak lesson in De Anza college pool 2010: kayakers in and out of the water in an olympic sized pool

We give a basic safety and paddling technique lesson on the pool deck first, which people who do not want to participate in the water can watch from the pool bleachers for free. Anyone can come for the lecture and demonstration, and we sometimes find ourselves with an audience of people from other campus activities, but you must be a currently enrolled De Anza student or staff member to participate in a boat on the water.

If you are not enrolled in one of the Outdoor Club advisor’s classes you must bring proof of current enrollment at De Anza (you could go to the Portal on your smart-enough-phone and show us) or bring a staff photo I.D.

The lesson and practice using the De Anza owned ocean and lake/river type kayaks (and sometimes a canoe) usually runs for two to two and a half hours, with the actual canoeing and kayaking taking place in the De Anza pool for about an hour or hour and a half (if we have a big group). If we have a big group, kayaks will probably need to be shared, partnerships can be formed that day.

Each lesson participant is responsible for unloading the kayak they will use and getting it to the pool deck, (which must be done by two people) then getting it back up to the trailer at the end.

When it is put in the pool be sure to put a large thick foam pad we have over the edge of the pool deck to protect the tiles.

Each lesson participant is responsible for helping pull lane lines out of the pool and hanging up wet life jackets.

We are not sure why so many people at our kayaking practices put their lifejacket on inside out.
The guy on the left models a lifejacket with the straps that buckle shut on the inside, the guy on the right has the same model of lifejacket on properly.

2 people model lifejackets


two more girls kayak in pool 2005: kayak in pool 2005 three: nov 2005 kayak in pool1:

The Outdoor Club will make no profit from club members on this event.

Cost is $15 members, $25 non-members. ($15 of each lesson participant’s fee will be pooled and split as a credit towards future events (within one year) among those who help with all the chores at the end of the lesson, until we are completely done, including canoe/kayak re-loading and help with swimming lanelines back or otherwise putting lanes lines back in place in the pool. If the lesson coincides with a swim class the chores might not finish until and hour or so after the lesson.

In other words, either you stick around after the lesson to help with the chores involved, or your lesson fee pays someone else to. That’s the ‘cost’ to club members.

Membership is $15 for 365 days. More reasons why you should become a member are at: Membership benefits

We try to do this lesson every quarter. Outdoor Club Coming Attractions has the next date/time and how to find us to sign up.

After a brief lesson, we launch and then have some practice.

kayaks into pool 2005: helping hand.jpg:

There is sometimes enough room to get up some speed:

getting up speed:

Optional: besides a lesson and practice paddling the De Anza owned lake/river type kayaks/canoe,
we get out the ocean kayaks. People who have gone on our Baylands kayak lesson and trip and want to try kayaking on Monterey Bay, can get a little practice with this style, and intentionally fall out of and climb back into the kayak.

Alexander balances as Troy climbs in: photo by Guru Parab Alan Ahlstrand watches two kayakers practice getting back into a kayak: lifeguard on pool deck watches two kayakers in the water on either side of a kayak just before they try to climb back into the kayak

See: practice how to climb back in to an ocean kayak.

You don’t have to know how to swim, but to participate in the climbing back into a kayak of the lesson you must pass the pre-surf swim test — see next paragraph–, OR you must jump into the diving well (16 feet deep pool), while wearing a lifejacket, so wear a swimsuit under your clothes, as the locker rooms may not be open (but there are showers at the pool deck to rinse off after).

Optional: If you intend to do the surfing lessons prerequisite swim test you need to wear a swimsuit under your clothes, as the locker rooms may not be open (but there are showers at the pool deck to rinse off after). To participate in Outdoor Club surfing lessons, usually offered at least each spring quarter, you must pass a swim test: jump into minimum 14-foot deep water, (a corner of the De Anza diving well) before you surface swim two full body lengths underwater, then come to the surface and tread water (not a flutter kick) for thirty seconds, then swim a minimum 35 yards head-up crawl or head-up breaststroke (all this without stopping). Instead of taking the swim test, you can provide a current Red Cross or YMCA lifeguard card or a scuba certification.

Do not take the pre-surfing swim test or the practice how to climb back into a kayak part of the lesson if you have had diarrhea or conjunctivitis (pink eye) within the past two weeks (unless you get a doctor’s release, on their official stationery, saying you are okay).

Once you pass the surfing lesson swim test you can go to the surfing lessons

four girls surfing oct 2003:


This canoe/kayak lesson is a great way to get ready for our Baylands kayaking lesson, but most people go on the Baylands trip with no experience.


tandem kayak in race

Outdoor Club Coming Attractions has the details about the date and price of our next surfing lesson and Baylands kayak lesson, as well as how to find us to sign up for events.

Interested in the canoe/kayak lesson?? Read more details:

The lesson is only open to De Anza students/staff/faculty.

Interesting weather does not cancel club events. (rain would not cancel this lesson, but lightning would).

NO REFUNDS except if the club cancels. If we cancel during the event, only people attending will get a refund. If you are so late that we have already unloaded kayaks and started the lesson you might not participate and will not get a refund. The lesson is limited to 18 people unless we do two sessions and people should sign up in advance to be certain of a place.

You must either be known to the club advisor as a student or teaching assistant in one of her classes, or bring proof you are currently a De Anza student or staff.

Many people wear a swimsuit with appropriate clothes as needed for the weather over the swimsuit. We recommend you wear clothes, shoes or sandals that can get wet or go barefoot (at least a little splash of water can be expected). Wear croakies or other eyewear retainers to hold on your sunglasses, and put your car keys in a safe place where they won’t fall out of your pocket into the water. Some people bring a bottle of water, or thermos of warm, non-alcoholic beverage, but please no glass containers on the pool deck. Warm clothes in the morning if it is cold are important, including non-cotton long johns and gloves in colder weather. Rain would not cancel the event so a rain jacket and pants would be wise if it looks cloudy. Some people bring a camera, but a waterproof one is the best idea (especially because most float) and you must have the permission of anyone you take a photo of. Bring towels and a change of clothes in case you end up in the water. Wear sunscreen and a hat with a brim for low-angle morning sun.

Since you might end up in the water, do not attend this event if you have had diarrhea or conjunctivitis (pink eye) within the past two weeks (unless you get a doctor’s release, on their official stationery, saying you are okay).

People must sign that they will pay for any needed repairs if they hit the walls of the pool with their craft hard enough to damage the tiles, but so far this has not happened.

Nope, you can’t bring your own boat.

You must wear a securely fastened lifejacket, which the club will provide.

How to find the De Anza College pools has maps.

There are lots of other on campus activities at De Anza College every week. De Anza College home games also has links to student recitals, dance performances and art exhibitions.

The Outdoor Club is a completely volunteer organization, neither the officers nor the advisor are paid. As a result you will not get the same ‘service’ from us as from a professional group.

We can’t always find a way to sign up people who can’t make it to our regular meetings, to a class when we are there, or to a table we have on campus. If none of the times we have available for signups are convenient for you, we don’t have enough people to be able to meet personally with you and sign you up.

People who wait until the last minute to sign up are sometimes left out.